Robert McCusker tagged posts

Wangi Sea Mount, Indonesia

Down from Pelagian’s tender to top of mount approx 8m. Lots of schooling reef fish, including jacks, red tooth triggers and a few tuna with the odd chevron barracuda.

Over sloping wall and superb spot by Sissi of rare yellow pygmy sea horse on sea fan, as well as a mantis shrimp peering out of its hole, ready to do battle.

Pair of small coral crabs on anemone, with large Napoleon wrasse in the blue.

Lovely allied cowrie (Hiata depressa ovulidae) on yellow sea fan, and commensal shrimp on whip coral. Small is beautiful!.

Back to top of mount for safety stop, where a large scorpion fish was superbly camouflaged in the coral. Pristine hard and soft corals and fans.

Superb dive with the earthdive crew – it doesn’t get any better than this!

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Bells, The Blue Hole, Egypt

Entry site the Bells, a vertical chimney to the North of the Blue hole. Down to 28m and pop out onto a near vertical wall, then travel right shoulder, ascending slowly.

Eventually arrive at a colourful hard coral slope at around 10 metres, which leads up and over at 6 metres into the blue hole pool.

Free diving competition in progress in the Blue Hole itself, so able to watch this most graceful (and dangerous) of sports during safety stop.

Superb dive

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Greenstone Point, New Zealand

Due to the return back to Te Anau over the pass at altitude, a relatively short and shallow second dive in the sound (strictly a fiord). A layer of colder, tannin-stained fresh water sits on top of the salt water and produces a hazy, shimmering effect which reduces visibility.

This reduced visibility allows flora/fauna that would normally inhabit depths greater than recreational diving limits to be seen at shallower depths.

The star of the show is the lovely black coral (Antipatharia) which here is a feathery white – only the skeleton is black! There is a good number of large specimens.

Other deep water species are saucer sponges and large tube anemones – a superb if cold dive in a world heritage site

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Mamigili outside reef, Maldives

Set off from Vilamendhoo on a dhoni for two hour trip to the sothern end of Ari Atol, where there were reports of whale shark sightings. Cruised around in the general area, but no sighting, so went for the first scheduled dive on the outside reef of ‘local’ island Manigili, a long reef right on the southern edge of the atoll.

In the water at around 15m, and approx 10 minutes into the dive, when Frank starts pointing out into the blue. Heading straight for us is a soltary rhincodon typus, around 6m long. The fish then headed west along the reef at around 5m, and lets us fin with it for 10-12 minutes, not seeming to mind the (careful) attention of a dozen divers, before slipping quietly into the blue again.

The whale shark is not supposed to be an efficient swimmer, but we were seriously fi...

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Marsa Shouni Soraya, Egypt

Third dive of the trip at Marsa Shouni, this time on the north side of the bay. Dive site name is bedouin for bay of the small market.

Positive entry off Sea Dream’s dive platform, down to 12m, very low vis, approx 2m, finned with reef left shoulder, vis improving as we edged around the reef. Pinnacles rising out of the ‘mist’ made for quite an atmospheric dive. Beautiful yet eerie.

One crocodile fish, one stonefish, couple of morays and sweetlips, plus usual array of hard and soft corals and small reef fish, anthias, lion fish and groupers.

After 30 mins, turned around and finned back, slowly ascending along the coral wall, evemtually back into the poor vis. Almost needed a buddy line!

Unusual but atmospheric dive.

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Elphinstone Reef, Egypt

Positive entry from Sea Dream’s dive platform on south west side of reef.. 16 divers trying to enter quickly led to a bit of a scramble – far from ideal.

Descend to around 15m then fin against light current to southern ridge then down to 30m to hang out looking for shark sightings – reports of oceanic white tip on the site. Light current made this unlikely, and after 20 mins gave up and drifted with current back to the reef and along the west wall, slowly ascending to safety stop depth. As always, Elphinstone wall bright with hard and soft corals, although failry light in terms of other marine life, but enough of the usual reef life to maintain interest.

Pleasant dive, but a little disapponting in terms of expectations.

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Black Jack Hole, Trinidad and Tobago

First dive of the day and Happy Birthday. My three dive buddies unfurled a birthday banner and took some pics!

The recent days heavy currents had eased, so a more relaxed dive than normal. Negative entry due to sea conditions, down to around 20m, shoals of soldier fish on descent. Lots of banded shrimp, flounder in the sand, large brain corals. Crab on rock, lobster in crevice. Turtle in the distance, too hazy to ID species. Surfaced near the island, just in front of Ian Fleming’s former home. No sign of a vodka martini on getting into the boat. Nice dive. Stirred but not shaken!

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Japanese Reef Gardens, Trinidad and Tobago

Second dive of the day, and of my birthday!

Negative entry and down reef wall to 18m. Gold spotted eel, superb soft and hard corals, and lots of sponges (purple, orange, green)

Small banded shrimp hiding in barrel sponge.

Current picked up as we approached Kamikaze cut, a narrow channel in the reef floor, and we were whipped through, keeping to the right as briefed, so that we could use the reef shelter on exit to hang a tight right turn, out of the current and into relatively calm water, or else next stop Europe!

Superb dive

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Gotta’a Marsa Alam, Egypt

Short rib trip from liveaboard to dive sit, then negative entry to around 20metres.

Easy fin over coral garden. Blue spotted ray burrowing into sand, small school of yellowfin barracuda.

Two titan triggerfish at different spots, and a ‘cloud’ of yellowtail goatfish. Large numbers of wrasse of various species.

One bigeye emperor fish (?) and a pair of batfish.

Current picked up at the latter part of the dive, but a very pleasnt fin!

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Mapinduzi, Tanzania

Boat trip from Fundo Lagoon on Pemba to Misali (aka Mesali) Island, Conservation Area.(not fully an MPA) Dropped down to wall, finned right shoulder at 30m. Currents apparently very unpredictable, but pleasantly light today, slack after high water. Finned against current initially to schools of trevally, unicorn fish and both pickhandle and blackfin barracuda.

Turned with current and back over reef, completely encircled by schools of barracuda. Two Napoleon’s, largest at 2+ metres. More blue finned trevallys and a large number of large silver trevallys.

An absolutely stunning dive.

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